Lukens: Standing up for our rural communities
Rural communities like our own are truly special. I grew up in our rural communities and with my grandpa as a rancher, I have a keen appreciation of our Western values. As a proud Western Slope citizen and member of the Agriculture, Natural Resources & Water Committee, I am committed to being an advocate for our rural and agricultural communities.
I also have made a commitment to work across the aisle. In House District 26, we have strong Democrats, Republicans, and everything in between. By working with a diverse set of legislators, I believe that I can best represent our wonderful communities.
Many of my first bills have bipartisan support and will directly support rural and agricultural communities. The legislators that are sponsoring these bills with me highlight my bipartisan focus and willingness to be open to all perspectives and experiences. As these bipartisan bills move forward, we can expect robust support from my Democratic and Republican colleagues.
HB23-1051 is going to increase broadband access in rural communities like our own in House District 26. The technology gap between urban and rural communities has grown over time, and this bill is a step in the direction of closing the digital divide. As a teacher, I know reliable internet access is not a want, but a need. Small businesses, students and all other broadband users in our communities deserve stronger and faster broadband access. By working with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner, we can make this happen. This bill was my first to pass through the House, and is now being discussed in the Senate, with one of the co-sponsors being our very own Sen. Dylan Roberts.
HB23-1094 extends the Agriculture Workforce Development Program which combines my prioritization of education and agriculture. This bill empowers the next generation of agriculturalists by supporting them through internships on farms, ranches and agricultural businesses.
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HB23-1125 seeks to harmonize and modernize transfers of water well ownership and thus, reduce errors and staff processing efforts. This bill would allow well information changes to be submitted online rather than by mail. We know Colorado’s water resources are critical to our way of life. Beyond these initial bills, I am working on legislation that will support all facets of our rural and agricultural communities.
As a legislature, we are protecting our beautiful landscapes by addressing climate threats. With our rural way of life top of mind, we are addressing our megadrought by working with water experts and leaders to prioritize stream health and mitigate the impacts of drought. I am doing all of these things with Republicans and Democrats alike by my side.
Several other bills that I am working on will be considered on the House Floor in the coming weeks. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for immediate legislative updates and more information on the bills that I am supporting. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, concerns, and questions.
My goal is to be in open communication with you throughout this legislative session and beyond. Onward!
Meghan Lukens of Steamboat Springs is the representative for Colorado’s House District 26, which encompasses Moffat, Rio Blanco, Eagle, and Routt counties